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Poster: Longnstrange Date: Mar 5, 2010 10:24am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Decline and Fall of the Garcia Empire

Sorry? The Glory years? who are you talking to? Pathetic for someone who wasn't there - to say the dead kept getting progressively worse from '77 on! You haven't quite got the message yet. It may not be possible to get the message via recordings. Before I saw them live and all I heard was bootlegs, I thought they absolutely sucked. Then I heard them live, now I don't like to hear much else. I say this to illustrate the perceptual change that occurs when you 'get' something- who feels it knows it.
Jerry was evolving and improving always. One would keep going to shows, even after the seventies, in order to hear the greatest ensamble get even greater. Are you seriously going to try to tell me that the dead peaked in the seventies? Sorry, I'm not that musically ignorant. The hooks on most of the great tunes are still in rudimentary stages in the seventies. If you call the seventies the glory days then you wanted the dead to stay retarded in their musical growth. Well it's a good thing you guys are WRONG. The band evolved into a FUSION band. That's right. Blues band in the sixties(plus a little acid) Rock band in the seventies(plus a little acid), and Jazz(plus a little acid) band and beyond from Brent forward. Keith wasn't bad,but there is NO WAY he was going where the boys were going musically. So listen to the old stuff, it's classic and historic. But don't fool yourself into thinking the dead peaked or had their "glory days" in the seventies
Geez kid; 4/1/88 to see just how 'lame' the dead became. Try an A/B test with a seventies show and a room full of people who never heard the dead, let me know how many think the seventies show is the 'peak'. The only person who could fantasize that the seventies show blows away the later show is a burned out hippie. Early dead is great, but it can NEVER have the ultimate formula- By definition it can't ever be the best- Jerrys' voice wasn't his man voice yet! The best Dead can ONLY be found when Jerry is older. He couldn't fake the years and the soul his voice took on after his Illin'. Later, the consistancy wasn't there. They were getting older and had some seriously rough nights, true. But everyone who knows, knows; Grateful Dead on a good night with Jerrys' man voice... If you want to know what I mean by his man voice, try 6/20/87 while you are at it. So sick of people calling the Dead a Pinot that needs to be opened when in fact they were one of the most complex cabernetts ever put into the cellar. Pan, I hope newbies don't fall for that sentimental hippie crap. And I respect your opinion if you truly believe that a band fumbling around trying to learn songs/ instruments is more entertaining than a band who has learned their songs/ instruments and is now BRINGING IT. There is something to be said about the creative process, and early dead tapes document that well. If you want to hear the evolution of music, however, listen to the whole thing!

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Mar 5, 2010 9:24pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: The late '80s were better

L&S has an interesting argument here, one that's rarely heard on the Forum.
'87 was better than '77!
His reasons, from what I can gather:
The music was jazzier.
Brent was better than Keith.
Jerry sang better.
The songs were more developed (they were only 'rudimentary' in the '70s).
The Dead were still fumbling around, trying to learn their instruments in the '70s.

Fascinating. Worthy of the Lost Sailor's Pub, even. I'm surprised there haven't been more comments, since late-era fans usually keep their heads down here. Do we have more votes for '87-89 being the true 'glory years'?

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Poster: DeadATL Date: Mar 5, 2010 12:03pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Decline and Fall of the Garcia Empire

I sincerely apologize for offending someone of your obvious musical erudition. I won't voice my opinion or ask a sincere question again.

PS Don't forget your medicine tomorrow.

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Poster: stealyourwife Date: Mar 7, 2010 10:44am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Decline and Fall of the Garcia Empire

Don't feel bad...high holy know-it-alls abound on this forum. It kinda makes me sick to my stomach the way some people take the "You Dont KNOW, You WerEnT theRe MANNN!" approach.

I never got to see Jerry but I still love his music. I agree that some aspects of their music peaked in the 70's..some in the 80's. The 90's are too clean, and the most boring shows, imo. But one mans' BORING is another mans' BRINGIN IT maybe...what do I know, "I WasN't TheRe ManNNnn"

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Poster: direwolf0701 Date: Mar 16, 2010 11:47am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Decline and Fall of the Garcia Empire

"Jerry was evolving and improving always."

are you serious??

If there ever was a de-evolution of an artist list, Jerry would be listed near the top.

and always improving?? please! keep dropping that acid with each listening session. you obviously aint hearing what i am hearing

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Poster: dcain Date: Mar 5, 2010 4:19pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Decline and Fall of the Garcia Empire

No doubt a lot of people were enjoying the music, and the experience of being at a Grateful Dead concert, in the 1980s and 1990s.

But I think there are there some objective musical benchmarks by which performances can be analyzed, and with which we can measure a particular musician's work.

For a guitarist like Garcia, some of the factors might be speed, tone, and melodic inventiveness.

An example: two versions of his initial solo on The Promised Land, one being 1/7/78, the other, say, 4/10/78. The former is extraordinary in phrasing, punch and power. The latter, to my ears, seems tentative, sluggish and uninspired.

Along those lines, I have discovered, generally, far more examples of Garcia's compelling, memorable melodic invention from his performances in the 1970s, than in the 1980s or 1990s.

For example, 1-22-78, not just for his summoning up of the Close Encounters theme, but his singularly distinctive "ode to joy" within St. Stephen. While there are performances of his that I enjoy from the 1980s, none compare.

If I was going to put together a Garcia "hitting the note" highlight reel, I wonder what I would find from the 80s that compare with the choice of notes, the phrasing, and the melodic inspiration of, say, his 8-13-75 GDTRFB solo; his work on the front end of Scarlet, 2-3-79; his Jack Straw solo from 1-7-78 (where laryngitis appeared to particularly concentrate his mind); the perfectly articulated, punctuated and constructed notes and sentences in his Music Never Stopped solo from 2-3-78; or the last minute of his solo in Eyes from 5-15-77, in which he invents a simple six note pattern and then improvises it into, well, a "search for ecstasy"?

(something similar could be said when comparing Lester Young's playing; his speed and melodic power in the late 30's and early 40s is quite different than his work in the 1950s, although many people enjoy the latter)

From a band perspective, what from the 1990s compares to the fully sustained, 45 minute long Playin-in-the-Band of 5-21-74? This merely opened a second set! (it can be a difficult piece, as it gets very dissonant, but the work and achievement of it is astonishing).

I do think Garcia's ballad playing was often more majestic later in his career. He could really fill the room with a single note in the 1980s. The new guitar, his tone, and yes his growth as a musician made this possible. And from a band perspective, what had been a relatively one-dimensional "drum solo" section really blossomed into a much more interesting, and sometimes powerful, percussion solo.




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Poster: snow_and_rain Date: Mar 6, 2010 10:02am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Decline and Fall of the Garcia Empire

You won't hear many people agreeing that 87 was better than 77. No way. Not even at LSP. And I feel pretty strongly that the pre-hiatus 70s was their peak. However, there are plenty who'd argue that 81 or 83 are better than 77. I'm not one of them, but they're out there and they're not crazy. Jerry still has pretty good dexterity at that point.

Brent seems to have a lot to do with it. Brent was clearly a better keyboard player than Keith was at the end of the 70s. Keith's decline is evident even in 77. But for me, the keyboards are the least of my concerns when evaluating the Dead, and I never really liked Brent's tones much. I also think his presence sometimes crowded out Jerry a little bit, just like Hornsby and even Branford, both of whom I think are great, but they kind of got in the way sometimes. Keith in the early 70s was a perfect fit for the band.

There are some who'd argue that 89-91 were better than the late-70s, but they're few and far between too. At the very least, I'd say that the band sounded better from 89-91 than they did from 86-88. Jerry was still growing as a musician, even if his fingers couldn't always keep up. I find a lot of worthwhile moments in practically every era, and it's fun looking for them here on the LMA.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Mar 5, 2010 9:04pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Decline and Fall of the Garcia Empire

Dcain! You should post more often. I've seen reviews of yours from the old days but didn't know you were still around.

This is one thread you were missed in:
http://www.archive.org/iathreads/post-view.php?id=281279

This post was modified by light into ashes on 2010-03-06 05:04:23

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Poster: dcain Date: Mar 6, 2010 4:19pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Decline and Fall of the Garcia Empire

Light into Ashes,
Thanks for your note. That was actually my first forum post; wasn't really aware of this forum. I still post to the individual concerts occasionally, but probably hard to find in the sea of posts; so many people have written since 2004 when I began to write here.

And thanks for the link to the other forum discussion. I'll see if there's something worthwhile I can add.

What might be interesting is if we could create a kind of "book club," where a group of people can log in at a certain date/time; we all then listen to, say, the Deal from 2-5-78, and everybody comments on it. From there it might be easier to develop a consistent vocabulary about what we like and why we like it. Which could contribute to understanding.
DC

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Poster: Cliff Hucker Date: Mar 5, 2010 9:49pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Decline and Fall of the Garcia Empire

Nice wine analogy, but every oenephile knows that even an immmortal claret gets to a point when its dried out and all the fruit is gone.

Even well cellared '82 First Growths are a bit past their prime now. As Robert Parker said about the Grateful Dead's performances during the 80's, "there are no great wines, only great bottles"

By the 90's, its all plonk...